Meissen porcelain ‘chinoiserie war chess’ set, £30,000 at Bonhams.

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Bonhams’ (27.5/25/20/14.5% buyer’s premium) Fine European Ceramics auction on December 3 included this Meissen porcelain ‘chinoiserie war chess’ set. This version had its own rules: unlike the European game, the figures were placed at the intersections of the lines rather than within each square and the moves were different.

Very few of these sets are known. Dating from the end of the 18th century, this one comprising 16 white and 16 polychrome pieces was previously sold at Sotheby’s in 1964 as the property of the well-known Surrey collector Nellie Ionides (1883-1962) of Buxted Park.

One of the two cannons that flank five soldiers in the front rank is a replacement and other pieces have restoration. It was estimated at £8000-12,000 but, appealing to both porcelain collectors and collectors of chess sets, it took £30,000.